May 7, 2018 | 7:30 PM | Monday
It’s easy to talk about an artist’s growth as a series of musical decisions: an expanding sonic palette, a change in mood or tempo.
Start on : May 7, 2018 7:30 PM Monday
End on : May 7, 2018 11:59 PM Monday
Monday, May 7th, 2018
$10 ADV / $12 DOS / ALL AGES / TAVERN
Y La Bamba
It’s easy to talk about an artist’s growth as a series of musical decisions: an expanding sonic palette, a change in mood or tempo, an escape from the trappings of the genre. It’s harder to talk about an artist’s personal—or even spiritual—growth because that kind of progress is hard to track. Until that is, an album like Y La Bamba’s Ojos Del Sol comes along and screams of radical transformation on every level. The Portland act’s fourth offering is a sweeping, playful and vulnerable collection that’s ripe for both musical and personal discovery. From the intimate, contemplative verses of the Spanish-language title track to the revelations delivered over the loping beats of “Ostrich,” this is an album that’s painstakingly produced while remaining emotionally raw.
Throughout the collection, Y La Bamba frontwoman Luz Elena Mendoza returns to themes of searching and metamorphosis. On one level, this is born from the Y La Bamba frontwoman’s continuing exploration of her identity as Mexican woman. Both of Mendoza’s parents grew up in Mexico—Luz was born in San Francisco, then brought up in a strict Catholic household in Southern Oregon. She spent her childhood summers playing in the orchards of California’s San Joaquin Valley with her cousins, and it was there that she soaked up the melodies and stories that were being told through traditional folk songs with three-part harmonies. These are sounds that remain a vital building block of the songs on Ojos Del Sol, an album which she says represents “a celebration of family and community.”
But on another level, Ojos Del Sol is about Luz’s search for shared humanity outside of her own community, and for a faith that is greater than just religion. These are themes that run throughout Y La Bamba’s body of work—with roots in a 2003 journey to India, which found Mendoza falling ill and trading her Christianity for something broader—but there’s a maturity to Ojos Del Sol that speaks to true, lasting transformation. You can hear this on the lush “Kali,” where she sings—with wonderment rather than fear—that “to know yourself is to lose everything.” And you can hear it on th
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